I’m not even sure where to start.
My name is Melissa, but please call me Mel; all of my friends do. Introducing myself isn’t always the easiest — not because I’m shy, but because I’m not really sure what to share. It’s been quite the wild ride.
I’ve learned how to walk twice. I’ve been pregnant twice and have four kids. I grew up in Waukesha and am now raising my boys a few blocks from my childhood home. I have been in love, married and am now divorced.
My wild ride started when I was in a terrible car accident that put me in the hospital for six weeks and in a wheelchair for another ten. I relearned how to walk. Within the four walls of Freodert Hospital, I learned just how much my family loves me and that my mom is (and always has been) my biggest cheerleader. While in the hospital I fell in “like” with the ortho tech. We (oops) got preggers before I realized how wrong he was for me. When I was six months pregnant, he told me he’d call me back when he got off of work. That was the last time I’ve heard from him. Sometimes I wonder if I should call the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest shift ever worked! I mean come on, we’re going on ten years…
I celebrated my very first Mother’s Day waddling my butt across the stage at my college graduation. From there, I went out and got myself a big girl job in the corporate world. Jaden and I lived with my parents. A few months later, I ran into an old college friend. Things were going to be different this time, I thought. I saw a stable man who would be a smart choice to date. Despite all the red flags along the way, we were married in September 2009.
From there, we decided to try for “one more.” Well, God had other plans…we found ourselves pregnant with triplets…that’s THREE babies in my belly at the SAME TIME! Then top it off, they were all boys! I pretty much walked around like a zombie for the next six months. My beautiful boys were brought into this world happy and healthy at 33 weeks and 3 days, at about five pounds each. Life was totally insane and I was struggling to stay above water. Again, cheerleader mom was there very step of the way. We received lots of help from family and friends.
Just as I was getting the hang of being a stay at home mom, feeding three littles and a pre-schooler, our lives were turned upside down and inside out. Owen, my middle triplet, was found unresponsive in his crib. I performed CPR until the paramedics arrived. He lived on life support for five days. Again, I found myself in a hospital room filled with so much love. During those 120 hours, I felt more love and absolute despair than I have felt my whole life. We said our final goodbyes on May 26, 2011. We donated Owen’s organs…I couldn’t imagine his life just ending. His heart went to a little girl in Minnesota, his liver to a little girl in Illinois, and his kidneys to science.
The rest of my story pretty much tells itself. My marriage fell apart. While Owen’s death was not the cause of my divorce, it certainly didn’t help. I had to go back to work full-time. In the midst of change and more loss, I had to find a way to comfort both myself and my boys. Every dream I ever had as a little girl had shatter right in front of me. I struggled for air yet again. This time I was weighed down by all the guilt and shame of my failed marriage and what my mistakes were going to do to my baby boys.
It hasn’t been until, more recently, that I’ve come up for air. I’m a homeowner now. I have an amazing job that supports and encourages me to be the mother I want to be. I enjoy cuddles with my boys on the weekends and still loathe spelling homework. After all that has happened, there is only one thing in this life that I am sure of: we need each other. I wouldn’t have survived without the love and support of others.